The New Kid

There's a new face at the East Lyme Schools, but the mid-year transition for this educator has been surprisingly seamless.

Melissa DeLoreto, 42, is the newest leader to join the East Lyme administration team. She replaced Lucy Schuman, who retired in December, as principal of the Niantic Center School. DeLoreto started Jan. 4.

"The staff has been wonderful. Everyone has been so warm and welcoming," DeLoreto said.

Before Niantic, DeLoreto was principal of the Northeast Elementary School in Vernon for five years and taught fourth grade and elementary technology in both Connecticut and Georgia. She has been an educator for 13 years.

DeLoreto grew up in Cumberland, R.I., and decided she wanted to live back in her home state. When she found the opening for principal at Niantic Center School, she decided to pursue it.

"Niantic seemed like a wonderful school system," DeLoreto said.

There are about 45 staff members and 250 students at Niantic Center. The school where she was an administrator before had more students and went up to Grade 5. Niantic goes up to Grade 4.

"I'm very excited to be here," DeLoreto said. "It's been great, and I'm really happy."

DeLoreto said it's too soon to talk about specific goals for the school, because she said she's in "look, listen, and learn" mode, trying to get to know staff, students, and understand the curriculum. Part of her routine every week is to visit classrooms.

"You can't coach from the sidelines-you have to be out there," DeLoreto said.

Things she likes to focus on as an educator include language arts and building relationships with children. She wants to provide differentiated instruction to meet the needs of each student.

DeLoreto graduated from the University of Connecticut with an undergraduate degree in health systems administration and worked as a management engineer at Waterbury Hospital for six years. She received a master's in business administration in human resource management from the University of Hartford and is the recipient of a Master of Science in elementary education from the University of New Haven as well as a sixth-year certificate in educational leadership from the University of Connecticut.

She said she has always loved children, and when she was in college, she contemplated two career paths: an educator or entrepreneur. She chose business at first but got into teaching later.

DeLoreto said she realizes that being an educator is an important job.

"You help shape who they are and what they become. It's amazing," she says.

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